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Visions of the Future

BY CSA STAFF

Bricks-and-mortar retailing has a future. But if the pundits are right, it will look and feel very different than it does today.

In the future… 

‘Stores will be multifaceted, able to communicate in more relevant ways. They will share control with the shopper, for a closer connection to what’s going on in your life.’—Lee Carpenter, chairman and CEO, Interbrand North America and Design Forum

‘The store of the future is not a store at all. It’s a social happening that is mobile, sustainable, and all about entertainment. It’s power brand accessibility to the young experimental set, where the art, design and style scene explodes into an immersive live event. It’s edgy and reinvents itself, revolutionizing the retail industry with a phat focus on relevance. ’ —Steve McGowan, VP, managing creative director, FRCH Design Worldwide

‘Stores may not be stores. They will be places where people try products, customize them, make them more eco-friendly, create a special scent or size “just for me.” And then, either the retailer can create an extra dozen items to sell to others “just like them” on eBay—or the consumer will go home and auction the outfit/merchandise they just replaced.’—Ken Nisch, chairman, JGA

‘Stores of the future will be about experience and social connections. They will shatter borders and delight the senses with a global perspective, linking vibrant new communities with technology, shared style, and attitudes.’—Brian Shafley, president and creative director, Chute Gerdeman Retail

‘Stores will be the social meccas that they are today and were in the past. Ever-changing technology will help to reduce the less desirable functions of the retail experience such as fitting rooms and checkout lines, allowing the customer to encounter a more gratifying and convenient shopping experience. ’—Fred Margulies, director of marketing, Herschman Architects

‘Stores will not look anything like they look now. This time for real. With the eventual proliferation of megaease, mega-fun shopping online (think voice recognition, avatar try-on and virtual stimulation), stores will have to take on the dimension of experience full force in new old ways: smart, lovely people to talk to, wonderful things to touch and try, incredible visual media and only the newest of the new to gaze at [remember when stores were like that?]. Hurry up, future. ’—Lee Peterson, VP, brand and creative services, WD Partners

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Lampert, the Eli Manning of retail?

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. The New York Giants triumph over the highly favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl earlier this month, has become an example of coming from the bottom to win it all. Sears Holdings chairman Edward Lampert is one of the latest to use the Giants win, even going as far to compare himself, and the leaders of his company, to quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants analogy, and Eli Manning comparison, is applied mainly to the company’s Kmart division. In a letter to investors, posted on the Sears Holdings investor relations Web site, Lampert said during Kmart’s bankruptcy in 2002, the unit was “like an undrafted free agent who nobody thought had a chance to play in the big leagues.” Lampert went on to say, “Like Eli Manning, we know what it’s like to be underestimated and questioned, but we intend to keep working on our game to achieve our full potential.”

Sears Holdings reported net income of $426 million, or $3.17 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, compared with net income of $811 million, or $5.27 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, 2007. For the fiscal year ended Feb. 2, 2008, net income was $826 million, or $5.70 per diluted share compared with net income of $1.5 billion, or $9.58 per diluted share, for the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, 2007.

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Circuit City investor seeks to replace board

BY CSA STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. Circuit City Stores today acknowledged that it has received two proposals from shareholder Wattles Capital Management regarding its board of directors. Wattles holds approximately 6.5% of the outstanding shares of the company’s common stock.

Circuit City reported that Wattles proposed the idea of replacing the company’s Circuit City 12-member board of directors with its own nominees. Circuit City said its board of directors will review carefully the shareholder’s proposals and the qualifications of the nominees in accordance with its fiduciary duties, mindful that the proposal would give the shareholder absolute control of the entire board, which would be disproportionate to its relative ownership of the company’s shares.

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